Hotel Managers – How To Dramatically Reduce your Buildings Energy Consumption

Energy consumption in hotels and resorts may seem complicated, but with the correct insight and management, it can be drastically reduced. Take two buildings at exactly the same size, one hotel and one residential building and the hotel will consume roughly 50% more energy. This is particularly alarming, as the average hotel has about a 65% occupancy rate. The reason for this is obvious, guests are not paying for the energy costs at a hotel, so they will take advantage of free utilities to be as comfortable as possible. Can you blame them? Of course not, for most this is a vacation and they don’t want to have to remember to do things that they usually do at home.

This fact, along with rising electricity costs and a potential Hotel Tax has caused many hotels, particularly mid-range properties, to focus their attention on energy management to save money and see a return on their investment.

What about luxury hotels? The focus here relies heavily on guest satisfaction as opposed to simply saving money. Luxury hotel guests have high expectations of their experiences, and for many, energy efficiency and the associated sustainability has become a social motivator. An “eco-friendly” hotel will not only be more environmentally responsible, but will also attract a wider variety of guests, as well as reduce operational costs by operating at a much higher level of efficiency.

With these wide ranging motivators, hotels all across the spectrum are employing effective energy management techniques. When performing any retrofit at a hotel, there are multiple variables to consider simultaneously such as costs, downtime not being an option, and guest comfort. Below we have outlined a number of ways that hotel managers can implement energy management techniques that will deliver ultimate service, reduce utility costs, and satisfy todays environmentally responsible customer.


Automation

At Insight Energy, one of the first things we consider is automation. With hotels, you must be able to educate your staff on the importance of conserving energy, but you can not control your guests’ habits. Automating many of the processes in your suites will lead to drastic reductions in energy consumption. You can automate just about any aspect of the room, some options include;

  • Sensors
    • By adding sensors into your suites, you can automate a number of aspects, at the top of this list would be climate control and lighting.
  • Room Status
    • Creating a central location where all room occupancy can be monitored and controlled as well as consumption within that room.
  • Switches
    • All the switches in your suite can have timer modes, which would shut off automatically, particularly when integrated with sensors so certain things are not operating when the room is vacant.
  • Sockets
    • Smart sockets give the ability to automate existing devices that might be difficult to do otherwise. Take a floor lamp for example. An extremely cost effective solution would be to simply plug it into a new socket that can be automated.
  • Shutters
    • Ensure shutters are open and closed based on exterior temperatures, utilizing the heat of the sun to heat your rooms. Shutters can be integrated with sensors and be overridden by guests to maximize their comfort.
  • Lighting
    • LED lighting has become increasingly affordable, particularly with the plethora of available government incentives. This is typically the first task on any energy managers list, as it provides the fastest ROI.
  • Fireplaces
    • In our experience, automating a fireplace, particularly at a resort, provides maximum returns. Guests tend to leave gas fireplaces on at all hours with little consideration of the cost to the resort.

Efficiency

The efficiency of your equipment will be the largest deciding factor in your utility costs. Increasing efficiency through retrofits will yield immediate savings and can be marketed properly to inform your customers that your hotel is taking the steps required to be environmentally responsible.

  • Heating
    • Heating can and should be automated in your suites. Installing a smart thermostat or one that has a master control, linked to sensors will guarantee to reduce your monthly utility bills.
    • Be mindful to not overheat the suites and corridors. Aiming for temperatures between 19-21 degrees C is ideal.
    • Service your boilers, rooftop units, etc regularly. Consistent maintenance can reduce your annual bill by about 10%.
  • Hot Water
    • No need to overheat your water, a temperature of 60 degrees C is ideal.
    • Consider retrofitting to an on demand heater (natural gas or propane fired) will reduce your energy consumption significantly. A typical electric hot water tank will constantly keep a large amount of water at a particular temperature. This consumes quite a bit of energy as the heaters almost always have to be on.
    • Review plumbing fixtures including toilets, aerators, and shower heads. By installing high efficiency options you will save water and reduce the need for heating water, saving on energy.
  • Air Conditioning
    • Consider installing a Building Management System. Imagine an automation system but for your entire building, it will control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, reducing total energy costs by at least 10%.
    • Avoid running air conditioning for cooling until the temperature is over 23 degrees C.
  • Lighting
    • LED lighting is always the best solution, particularly as costs have dramatically been reduced in recent years. Replacing your fluorescent, metal halide, high pressure sodium, or CFL lights with LEDs will show strong returns across the board.
    • Along with high efficiency lighting, installing occupancy, motion, and daylight sensors will also seriously reduce your consumption ensuring they are only on when needed. Be sure to measure light levels as there are minimum outputs for certain areas (such as parking garages).

Clearly, there are plenty options for reducing energy consumption in your facility. While it may seem overwhelming, the important thing is to start the conversation about conservation! Please let us know if there is another energy efficiency measure that has worked for you, we would love to hear about it! If there is anything we can do to help you understand, manage, or reduce your buildings energy consumption always feel free to reach out, we can be reached at info@insightenergygroup.com